New Delhi: The defence ministry has issued four shipbuilding Requests for Proposal (RFP) amounting to Rs 15,000 crore for the acquisition of various ships and craft for the Navy and the Coast Guard.

Officials said RFP for six next-generation missile vessels (NGMVs) has been issued to seven shipyards while RFPs for eight fast-patrol vessels (FPVs) and 12 air-cushion vehicles (ACVs) as well as eight missile-cum-ammunition barges have been issued to shortlisted Indian shipyards.

The ministry of defence has issued four RFPs for shipbuilding projects amounting to Rs 15,000 crore, they said.

The RFP for ACVs includes the initial requirement of six ACVs for the Indian Army.

"In addition, a few more RFPs for more shipbuilding projects are likely to be issued in the next few months," the defence ministry said.

The defence ministry initiated a process to identify the shipyards for the issue of RFPs for shipbuilding projects with an aim to encourage participation by a larger number of Indian shipyards.

"This led to rationalisation of guidelines for capacity assessment of shipyards that have been promulgated recently. Rationalisation and promulgation of financial selection criteria have paved the way for issue of RFPs for a large number of shipbuilding projects that have been pending," the ministry said.

In a significant move to encourage smaller shipyards, participation in the projects with the anticipated annual outflow of less than Rs 75 crore has been restricted to smaller shipyards having an average annual turnover less than Rs 500 crore.

Meanwhile, during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha on Monday (July 1), defence minister Rajnath Singh said the AN-32 plane of Indian Air Force (IAF) that crashed in Arunachal Pradesh killing all 13 personnel on board was completely airworthy.

He also said that the accident rate per 10,000 flying hours in the Air Force has come down from 1.04 in 1999 to 0.33 currently.

Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, he termed the accident as unfortunate but made it clear that there was no problem with the airworthiness of the aircraft.
He informed the House that a total of 13 people lost their lives in the AN-32 plane crash. The mortal remains of all have been recovered and sent to their families.

"I want to assure the House that our AN-32 fleet is airworthy and there was no problem. But this incident happened, which is very unfortunate," he told the house.